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Unwigged & Unplugged (aka Christoper Guest, Michael McKean & Harry Shearer of Spinal Tap fame) at the Paramount Theatre, $32-$52, all ages

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Live Music Round-Up: Monday, April 20

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Unwigged & Unplugged (aka Christoper Guest, Michael McKean & Harry Shearer of Spinal Tap fame) at the Paramount Theatre, $32-$52, all ages

When I first saw This Is Spinal Tap in high school, I thought it was an actual documentary. Seeing it again today, I cringe at the obliviousness of my youth. A record label head named Sir Eaton-Hogg? A song called "Sex Farm Woman"? An album called Smell the Glove? Dana Carvey and Billy Crystal as mime waiters? Paul Shaffer as an inept Midwestern promoter? Howard Hessman as a big-shot band manager? Fran Drescher cast as something other than the most annoying woman on the planet? The clues were all there, staring me right in the face--and yet I still believed. Why? Simple: The members of Tap, expertly played by Waiting for Guffman and Best In Show comic laureates Christoper Guest, Michael McKean, and Harry Shearer, were utterly credible as big-haired, age-of-excess Brit rockers. Now, stripped of their garish costumes, they're touring "unwigged and unplugged" behind the tunes produced by Tap and the Folksmen from 2003's A Mighty Wind. Given the acoustic setup, they're unlikely to crank it up to eleven. But what they're sure to deliver is peerless stage banter interspersed with surprisingly competent musicianship. MIKE SEELY

Protest The Hero, Misery Signals, The Number 12 Looks Like You, Scale The Summit at El Corazon, 6 p.m., $15, all ages

This Canadian metal outfit combines sincere cerebral inquiry into topics like archetypal feminine goddess energy and its manifestations in global consciousness with the goofball stoner charm of, say, the Scooby Doo gang. Yes, for all that Protest The Hero pines for the re-feminization of the planet (that's the band's description of its latest album, Fortress, not ours), there are undoubtedly lots of fart jokes going on on the tourbus. Self-avowed nerds who claim to hate nerds just like themselves, the members of PTH have nonetheless managed to channel their enthusiasm for sci-fi and fantasy into a vision that rises far above your typical Star Trek/Stargate cliche. That's because, if Tommy Chong and Terence McKenna ever had a lost love child, it would be bassist and lyricist Arif Mirabdolbaghi, a "lapsed Muslim" of Iranian descent who claims his parents are fine with his affinity for the magic mushrooms which grace PTH's t-shirts. Mirabdolbaghi strives to examine gender-equalizing metaphysics without sounding like a pussy-whipped New Age sap. The Genghis Khan, boiled-in-oil imagery doesn't hurt, nor does the band's uncanny ability to playfully ape New Wave Of British Heavy Metal hallmarks (like operatic Maiden-style vocals) without sounding camp. In PTH's nimble hands, cliches get worked into a thrilling, highly original display of muscular prog-metal wizardry. And unlike most metal bands who get all serious on you, it's fun too. SABY REYES-KULKARNI

 
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